Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Maleem Mahmoud Ghania with Pharoah Sanders - The Trance of Seven Colors

This disc reproduces a meeting between Sanders and the master Gnawa musician Maleem Mahmoud Ghania. Gnawa people are Morrocan descendents of black African slaves, who have maintained a spiritual and musical tradition that is an amalgam of Sufi mysticism and elements of West African spirit religion. The music is haunting. It is a vocal music, driven by an instrument called the guimbri...a bass lute with gut stings and a head made out of camel hide. The musician plucks the strings and slaps the head to create a sound somewhere between a bass guitar and a drum. The rest of the ensemble consists of a responding chorus who accompany the music with hand claps and Krkaba, loudly resounding hand cymbals. The music is equal parts Sufi ceremonial music and West African drum ritual. On it's own the music is compelling.
But over top of this on many of the tracks on the album, Pharoah Sanders let's loose on some of the most firey, spirit filled improvisation that he's done since the late 60s. Not all of this is out...some is quite beautiful and very melodic. His ballad Peace in Essaouira is deeply moving. But even when he maintains tonal structures and specific pitches in his improvising, there is a spirit here which is bracing. And when he goes out....watch out! It's a true meeting of the two groups, not a gimmick.
This is an album that will give you energy and literally raise the spirits. I find that I can't keep still while listening to it. It is true trance music. - Amazon review

Maleem Mahmoud Ghania with Pharoah Sanders - The Trance of Seven Colors, produced by Bill Laswell
1. La Allah Dayim Moulenah
2. Bala Moussaka
3. Hamdouchi
4. Peace In Essaouria
5. Boulandi Samawi
6. Moussa Berkiyo / Koubaliy Beriah La'Foh
7. Salat Anbi
8. Casa Casa Atougra
9. Mahraba


  1. so many thanks for this great piece of art....makes me think back to my 1st visit 35 years ago to magreb and seeing the gnawwa musicians on the square in marrakech ..and pharoah always a groove....

  2. Thanks for posting this...it certainly is some colourful stuff. There's more Mahmoud Guenya to be found over here:



  3. thanks a lot, friend :)

  4. This album is simply beautiful, nicely spiritual and Pharoah Sanders is blowing his saxophone with a lot of emotion. Any albums similar to this one that you might suggest?